Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (80, 81)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

80. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his Department officials have met with a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12362/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

81. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which his Department can facilitate requests from various groups such as a group (details supplied) to assist them with reaching out to victims and all their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12364/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 81 together.

I have not personally met with the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF). My Department regularly engages on my behalf with SEFF, which provides access to well-being and advocacy services for a significant number of victims' families and survivors of Troubles-related attacks both in Northern Ireland and in this jurisdiction.

In recent years, my Department's engagement with SEFF has included attendance at SEFF's annual conference and visits to the group's centre in Fermanagh. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has facilitated SEFF in organising events in this jurisdiction to engage with victims families and survivors here, most recently in July last year, as part of SEFF's advocacy engagement on the UK government's public consultation on draft legislation to establish the legacy institutions provided for under the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. SEFF successfully applied for funding under my Department's Reconciliation Fund in 2015. My Department will continue this constructive engagement with SEFF in the period ahead.

The Government also contributes significantly to the EU PEACE IV programme (2014-2020), and which includes a specific action on Victims and Survivors. This action is delivered by the Victims and Survivors Service in Northern Ireland which provides funding supports to organisations - including SEFF - to employ Health and Wellbeing Case Managers, Health and Wellbeing Caseworkers, Advocacy Case Managers and Advocacy Caseworkers for victims and survivors irrespective of their place of residence.

This engagement and funding support from the Government is part of our commitment, set out in the Programme for Partnership Government, to continue support for victims’ groups and to promote reconciliation among communities on both sides of the border, which were particularly affected by the Troubles. This support is also channelled through the Government’s Reconciliation Fund and through Ministerial engagement with representatives of different community traditions.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I have valued the opportunity to meet with victims’ families and with survivors of Troubles-related attacks, North and South on the island of Ireland and in Britain, to hear their views, experiences and concerns.

Consistent with our commitments in the Programme for Partnership Government, as the Government continues work to implement the legacy framework of the Stormont House Agreement to address the legacy of the past, we will maintain our engagement with victims groups as well as victims' families and survivors, to take account of their views and maintain their needs at the core of our approach.

Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 79.